Playlist: Summer Songs To Dance to During Pride When You Have an Unbearable Crush

feature art: Autostraddle // photo: FG Trade via Getty Images

When I have a crush, I crush hard. In 7th grade, this looked like doodling hearts on my notebooks and writing secret love letters in hopes that I might have the courage to confess my love to whomever was the object of my affection. As a 27-year-old, I still get all the butterflies and angst of a mid-pubescent girl, but now I shovel my energy into creating perfectly curated playlists to listen to while in the car or doing dishes so I can dream of my crush holding my hand or giving me those “I want you” eyes.

What better way to celebrate queer love than to dance to an indie pop playlist like your crush is watching! This selection of songs is particularly gay, because The Aces released their new summer banger about teenage unrequited love TODAY! On the tail of their 2020 hit “Daydream,” their spunky, youthful song “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” hits us with what the The Aces call “a nostalgic call back to our adolescence and shared experience of being young, queer, and painfully in love with your best friend.” Just in time for hot girl summer, The Aces are prepping for their upcoming tour with Why Don’t We.

Listen to their new single first, and then enjoy a selection of songs I specifically picked to help me get through this agonizing period of summer lovin’.

1. “Girls Make Me Wanna Die” by The Aces

2. “My Body” by LP

Because, as LP puts it, “my body’s looking for somebody.”

3. “Free” by Florence + The Machine

So this isn’t directly about a crush, but the propelling drums gives me the same type of heart palpitations as “Girls Make Me Wanna Die.” This song is about breaking free from something (or someone), and I often feel trapped by my own infatuations. It’s the perfect song to put on before going for an emotional detox jog.

4. “Now I’m In It” by HAIM

I’m certainly “in it” and this songs help me shake out all the pent up energy I’ve harbored trying to play it cool.

5. “ECHO” by KATIE

This songs jolts us into a bit of alt KPOP with all of the heartbreak behind “tell me if you’re falling like I’m falling for you.”

6. “Silk Chiffon” by MUNA feat. Phoebe Bridgers

It’s all in the little moments of watching their shirt graze their collarbone or feeling the electricity of their touch.

7. “Naked In Manhatten” by Chappell Roan

Chappell recently came out on TikTok with this song about yearning for a gal from her past. It encompasses that burning sensation you suddenly get when you realize you are, in fact, queer.

8. “Brain Soup” by Nasty Cherry

“RIP me” pretty much says it all. Nasty Cherry is a band Charli XCX created from scratch for her reality TV show “I’m With The Band.” They’ve come a long way since their conception and I’m grateful because they graced us with this exceptionally relatable song.

9. “Yuck” by Charli XCX

This is probably my #1 played song of 2022 because I truly wanted this to be a feelingless hot queer summer and I’m sickended by how fast I turned into a puddle of mush for someone.

10. “Cherry” by FLETCHER feat. Hayley Kiyoko

This song feels like having a fleeting summer crush in the middle of July, and I’m all about that vibe for the whole summer.

11. “Whisper” by Betty Who

This song is a little dated, but it’s SUCH a jam. I was first introduced to this song whilst driving down LA’s notorious 405 with the windows down and volume on max. Be prepared for people in the car next to you to giggle; it’s impossible not to dance to this song.

12. “Just Another Song” by Kelechi feat. Vincint

Its vibes are similar to “Whisper,” but the sentiment is sad queer pop song you should absolutely dance to.

12. “Chance” by Hayley Kiyoko

This song hurts a little bit.

14. “tangerine” by Kehlani

This cool and collected slow jam is just one of many on her new album and tour Blue Water Road. We loved when she compared her crush to honey and now our crush is tangerine and vanilla bean. Yum.

15. “Girl” by The Internet feat. KAYTRANADA

Slow and sensual, this song is the perfect jam to play when you’re casually inviting your crush to “hang out” on a Friday night. You’ll thank me later.

16. “for the girls” by Hayley Kiyoko

It’s mandatory for this song to be included in any Pride playlist this summer.

17. “Sofia” by Clairo

“But oh my god I’m I think I’m in love with you” is a whole hazy summer Sunday mood.

18. “Sexy Villan” by Remi Wolf

Who wants a princess when you can have hot dom villain? A friend recently introduced me to Remi and I was instantly hooked by the sexy production.

19. “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Caroline Polachek

If you’re a major simp like me, this song is a crush classic. When I first heard this song I had just met this gal who I came to be so infatuated with. It didn’t work out, but the sex was pretty good.

20. “Hands Down” by The Greeting Committee

I included this mostly, because the vibes are similar to The Aces, but also in hopes that your crush turns into something more and you can then play this song at your wedding.

21. “Bedroom” by Litany

It’s simple, but very real. It captures that feeling where you want to send a “u up?” text but you also want them in your family reunion picture.

22. “Honey” by Jules Paymer

After the roller coaster that is listening to this playlist, this song is the smooth and healing balm to a throbbing heart.

Here’s the full playlist!

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Em Win

Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Em now lives in Los Angeles where she does many odd jobs in addition to writing. When she's not sending 7-minute voice messages to friends and family, she enjoys swimming, yoga, candle-making, tarot, drag, and talking about the Enneagram.

Em has written 70 articles for us.


  1. yessssss i neeeeeeeeed more songs for my hotqueersummerrrr playlist!!!! thank you em!!!!!!!

    one song i can contribute is This Hell by Rina Sawayama, out may 18! “saw a poster on the corner opposite the motel/turns out i am going to hell if i keep on being myself/ . . . god hates us? alright then buckle up, at dawn we’re riding . . . this hell is better with you/ we’re burning up together baby that makes two. . . got my invitation to eternal damnation” – this is exactly the queer anthem i need for driving in 100 degrees past christofascist billboards, along with all these other songs!!

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